As Delhi witnesses a surge in COVID-19 infections and positivity rate, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority will meet Wednesday to deliberate on the current situation.
It's expected that in the meeting, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, a decision would be taken on making masks compulsory again in public spaces, according to sources cited by PTI. The sources added that the DDMA deliberations would also include a hybrid mode of education for schools — online and offline both.
The Delhi government had lifted the fine of Rs 500 on not wearing masks at public places earlier this month. However, in the light of recent surge, experts have said that masks need to be enforced strictly.
A senior government offcer told PTI, "Imposition of fine for strict enforcement of face mask use is highly likely as neighbouring towns including Noida, Ghaziabad, and Gurgaon have done so in view of rising cases."
The Uttar Pradesh government last week all of its National Capital Region districts on alert. Then on Monday, mask mandates were issued for the capital Lucknow and six NCR districts adjoining Delhi — Lucknow, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Bulandshahr, and Baghpat.
Schools will feature in DDMA discussions as many children have been found infected lately. Schools have taken to frequent sanitisation among other measures to prevent viral spread. The Delhi government has told schools to close specific wings or classrooms where students or staff have been found to be infected.
Delhi on Tuesday reported 632 new coronavirus cases at a positivity rate of 4.42 per cent. While cases increased from Monday's 501, the positivity rate fell from 7.72.
Between 11-18 April, Delhi witnessed a three-fold surge in COVID-19 infections. Compared to 500-600 cases being reported daily, the national capital was reporting around 200 cases a week back. The positivity rate was also 2.7 on 11 April.
However, the surge in infections has not coincided with a rise in hospitalisations or deaths. Notably, deaths from COVID-19 in Delhi are almost negligible lately.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said on Monday that the COVID-19 situation in Delhi was not alarming although cases were rising. He said the number of hospitalisations were low and the government was keeping watch on the situation.
PTI reported that most of the cases are mild. Dr Jugal Kishore, head of community Medicine, Safdurjung hospital, told PTI, "The variant [Omicron XE sub-variant] has more transmissibility but is causing mild infection. It is causing upper respiratory infection and not lower respiratory infection."
With PTI inputs